FARC Negotiators Meeting in Havana Declare Unilateral Ceasefire
By Dialogo November 21, 2012
BOGOTÁ – Colombia’s 48-year war has entered a new phase with the guerrillas declaring an immediate unilateral ceasefire and the Bogotá government pledging to continue its attacks on the rebels.
Shortly before the two sides launched peace talks in Cuba on Nov. 19, Monday, Iván Márquez, chief negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced a unilateral, two-month ceasefire which he said would last until Jan. 20, 2013.
“The Secretariat of the FARC … orders its guerrilla units throughout the national territory to cease all offensive military operations against government troops and all acts of sabotage against public and private infrastructure,” Márquez said, reading from a prepared statement.
Márquez said the ceasefire is a response “to the overwhelming demands of the Colombian people” to end the violence. He also said it’s aimed at improving the atmosphere at the negotiating table and helping bring about a peace accord.
Colombian government says ‘no deal’
Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón shrugged off the rebel announcement and said the military would keep attacking FARC units. “Government troops have the constitutional duty to pursue the delinquents,” Pinzón told reporters. In the past, he added, the FARC, “has never honored the truces it has proposed.”
The contrasting positions reflect the balance of forces on the battlefield, with the FARC battered and bruised amid a long-running military offensive and the Colombian Armed Forces holding the upper hand.
Pinzón and other government officials remain concerned about the FARC’s motives. In comments to local media, they have expressed fears that a bilateral ceasefire would provide the rebel organization with breathing space to rest and recover from the military offensive that’s eliminated many FARC top commanders and cut its troop strength in half to about 8,000 fighters.
“In the past, ceasefires have provided a significant advantage to the guerrillas and that must not be repeated,” said chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle as he departed Bogotá for Havana on Nov. 18.
Value of ceasefires a matter of debate
Ceasefires may require the deployment of international observers to make sure both sides comply. Violations could bring the talks to an abrupt halt, said León Valencia, director of the Bogotá-based New Rainbow Foundation.
For example, he said, in the 1980s, both sides called for a bilateral ceasefire during a round of peace talks between the government and FARC negotiators. But the two sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire, and eventually negotiations to end the war fell apart.
President Juan Manuel Santos — who faces some opposition from his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe — for not being hard enough on the FARC rebels, is trying prevent what happened in the 1999 to 2002 peace talks. At that time, the Bogotá government agreed to withdraw troops from Caguán but the FARC made no concessions in those talks and used that region to train troops, produce drugs and hide kidnapping victims.
Ending the bloodshed could also provide immediate relief for war-torn communities in rural Colombia, said Álvaro Jiménez, who heads a Colombian NGO lobbying for a ban on the use of land mines in the conflict. Reducing the intensity of the conflict could increase public support for the negotiations, he said. The FARC has said that it will no longer kidnap civilians for ransom, a pledge it has largely kept.
President Santos must resign because he deceived Colombia pretending to be Uribist as everyone believed. Wanting to approve drug use which is poison and negotiating with criminal terrorists were his greatest errors. All the assassins from the FARC and other groups deserve only death penalty to give them eternal rest and to improve the lives of all future survivors relatives of the dead killed by the Farc and other groups of murderers.
President Santos distinguished himself by being one of the worst Presidents and he will never be reelected. On the contrary he should be punished for lying.
The story is that the FARC is the army of the people. I belong to the people and they definitely do NOT represent me! God willing those dialogues have some results but I don't believe it, those of the farc are born liars and they only want to gain time for their criminal intents! Gentlemen on the Farc, for once take this seriously, don't make us Colombians waste more time, and don't tell us more stories...! JF you know that all the comments here are from civil servants and they speak against the farc, I am not with anyone but the one or the ones who benefit from the war are the soldiers, the police, the president, the secretary and all politicians who receive money as help. The President is more confused than a monkey just-captured, because he only can live off appearances Those who do not want peace are Colombian oligarchs. It's them who benefit from war against the simple, hardworking people. HOW CAN WE EXPECT PEACE IN COLOMBIA WHEN WE OURSELVES ARE DENYING IT. PLEASE, LET'S BE REALISTIC, THE FARCs ARE NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY AND THE PRESIDENT LIVES FOR APPEARANCES, HE SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT NOT GIVING AWAY COLOMBIA TO THE AMERICANS OR ABOUT BOOSTING US ECONOMICALLY. THE TRUTH IS THAT PEACE IN THIS COUNTRY IS PURE ILLUSION. FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA. IF HE WANTS PEACE HE NEEDS TO START BY RECOGNIZING THE RIGHTS OF THE CITIZENS, SPECIALLY OF THE RETIRED ONES FROM THE CAFETERO BANK. THEY STEAL OUR PENSIONS IN LONG BATTLES TO RULE WRONGFULLY, JUST BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT HAS MANY FEUDS. I AM A FORMER OFFICIAL OF THE CAFETERO BANK AND THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO STEAL MY PENSION, I WON IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, THE JUDGE AGREED WITH ME, IN THE SECOND INSTANCE THE COURT CONFIRMED THE JUDGE'S RULING BUT RIGOBERTO ECHEVERRY, THAT INHUMAN MAGISTRATE DENIES ME THE PENSION AND APPLIES THE LAW 100, WHICH IN MY CASE IS THE LAW 33 OF 1985. THIS IS NOT PEACE, PLEASE MR. PRESIDENT I ASK YOU TO REVIEW MY CASE OF INJUSTICE, THEY ARE ONLY A MERE 1,500 MONTHLY PENSION. TOTAL THEFT. The Heads of the Holy Government and its followers think that by repeating along with Uribe that the FAR---!!!! are drug terrorists via radio, press and television, they have already convinced us, 40 millions Colombians, of it, and what's worse, is that in their tiny clam brains they only repeat the same formula to end with THEIR problem: LEAD AND MORE LEAD, mechanically repeating the same formula of Barco, Gaviria (Green house), Samper, Pastrana, (Colombian Plan) and of the Lord of the shadows (Patriotic Plan), who only managed to increase the outrageous figures of current guerrillas which are practically undeniably unstoppable throughout the whole national territory and no exactly the " Dark One", for them, Borders with Venezuela. We all need peace but the wealthy even more since they're the ones with something to lose, at the end of the day, the poor people need to lose their tie to a system that in the last twenty years Has Given Us the following "Gifts" - Over 120 tolls - Managed also by foreigners - To go through the Country, - Increase of the age to retire (57 and 62 years old) when it used to be 55 and 60, and an increase in the number of weeks from 1000 to 1300 - Creating more taxes: 4 times a Thousand, Ica, non-payable valuations, just to name a few. Decline of the health system, accepted by the government itself and of the education one, more expensive and way worse. Creation of IVA (Belisaurio Government) and of the UPAC revamped as UVR by the Son of its implementer (The Meritorious and never satiated or properly understood or rewarded PASTRANA FAMILY). And they still repeat their other ONLY FORMULA which they think they have fooled us with. And this IS A DEMOCRACY!!!!!!!!! HO, HO, HO .............. The guerrilla is fighting for the peasants and their rights, because all the politicians only want to steal and give away our resources...foreigners should leave Colombia... leave with your companies...long live the nationalization of the enterprises..specially the hydrocarbons, whoever likes the foreigners should leave, long live the Bolivarian Colombia